How to Bleed Drum Brakes

  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 6-12
What You'll Need
Jack stands
Brake fluid
Automotive jack
Lug wrench
Glass or plastic jar
Clear plastic tubing
Wrench set

Cars loaded heavily, particularly during long trips, are placing severe stress on its drum brakes and entire brake system. Sometimes, the fluid inside the brake system should be changed, or seals within the brake system should be replaced. When your car’s hydraulic brake circuit is unlocked, air is initiated in the system. Hence, brake bleeding is the method of removing the system’s air, so the brakes will work aproperly.

Step 1 – Remove the Tires and Wheels

Lift the car’s front, with an automotive jack, then support it using jack stands placed beneath the front frame. Lift up the car’s rear part as well using an automotive jack placed below the rear axle. Loosen the lug nuts which attach the wheels to the hubs, with a lug wrench. Remove the wheels from the hubs.

Step 2 – Bleed the Drum Brakes

Load the master cylinder reservoir using fresh brake fluid. Check the fluid level within the reservoir periodically in this procedure. Never let it run dry at any time. Find the bleeder screw along the brake caliper down the front wheel of the driver's side. Attach a clear plastic tubing length to the bleeder screw. Submerge the tubing’s other end inside a jar half-filled of new brake fluid.

Next, pump the brake pedal then press it to the floor. Have somebody to assist you in the process. Unlock the bleeder screw using a wrench then let some fluid to leak out. You will notice small air bubbles with the fluid. Lock the bleeder screw using a wrench then have your assistant let loose the brake pedal.

Step 3 Check Out Air Bubbles and Tires

Go over the process until there are no air bubbles seen mixed with the fluid within the transparent plastic tubing. Repeat as well the process you utilized on the front wheel of the driver's side for the passenger's side. Do again on the rear wheels. When your car is equipped with back drum brakes, its bleeder screw will be along the inboard part of the car’s brake backing plate.

Step 4 Reinstall the Tires and Wheels

Raise the wheels on the lug studs with your hand. Bolt the lug nuts on the lug studs with a lug wrench. Then lower your car and re-tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Confirm the fluid’s level within the master cylinder regularly as you bleed the brakes. If the level drops under the required fill line, put in more fluid. Start your car’s engine after bleeding the entire brakes then press on brake pedal. Turn the engine off and hold on the pedal, then bleed the brakes once more.